As promised, here's the Georgia Tech half of the exchange I did with Nathan of the Golden Tornado blog. (The counterpart to this post, my answers to Nathan's questions, can be found here.) This should give you some insight as to how the world looks from the Georgia Tech side of the rivalry. It's located deep in the heart of midtown Atlanta, and it's a side where there aren't a whole lot of hot girls, but it's a side worth acquainting yourself with just the same.
Just as I gave you a look at how Georgia fans see their Atlanta rivals, Nathan should give you some insight into what Techies see when they look at us Bulldogs. It ain't flattering, but hey, it's a rivalry. I have to admit, I've had some of the same thoughts about the various non-alumni Dawg fans who crawl out of their trailers for gameday and generally do a good job making the rest of us look bad, and I certainly won't make excuses for any of 'em. I guess it's just easier to overlook those folks when you play amidst the heated, occasionally downright unhinged, rivalries of the SEC. I can understand that if you're used to attending away games at Duke and Maryland, getting a beer poured on you and having your sexuality loudly called into question would be shocking, but I've been to Knoxville and Baton Rouge, and . . . well, that's pretty much how the Junior League welcomes you when you enter the city limits. But anyway, without further ado, here's Nathan.
As a UGA student from 1995 to 1999, I was naturally conscious of the Georgia-Georgia Tech rivalry, but it wasn't really until the '99 game -- Georgia's driving for the winning score, Jasper Sanks is down at the 2 but the refs erroneously call fumble, Tech goes on to win in overtime -- that my attitude blossomed into full-blown, out-and-out, wouldn't-piss-on-'em-if-they-were-on-fire hatred. Do you have a similar "turning point" in your history as a Tech fan, or was your burning hatred of UGA pretty much a given the minute you started following the Yellow Jackets?
I'm not from Georgia, I'm from North Carolina originally. When I applied to GT, I didn't know what I was getting into. During my freshman year (1997), I was only taking one class on the flats (I was in a dual degree program with another school) and so was somewhat separated from the normal student body. I went to a Braves game that September wearing a GT T-shirt, and while I was walking to my seat some drunken redneck idiot wearing a UGA hat screamed out "FUCK TECH YOU FUCKING FAGGOT!" and poured an entire beer over my head (much to the enjoyment of his 2 friends who were high-fiving). I was a 17-year-old kid 5 minutes from my campus, wearing a college T-shirt. I grew up with the Duke v. UNC rivalry, and people just didn't do stuff like that. I was in total shock. I've pretty much despised the University of Georgia and its fans ever since.
The average Georgia fan, as seen through the eyes of the average Georgia Tech fan.
Here's a two-part question, with the two parts being similar but not quite the same. First, what would you say is Chan Gailey's biggest win during his tenure at GT? Second, what would you say is his signature game -- win or loss, the game that best sums up how the Yellow Jackets have fared under his watch, the one that has kind of "set the tone" for the program?
Chan Gailey's biggest win [was] at Miami last week. After everything that happened during the week, it would have been very easy to just mail it in and go through the motions, and instead the team came out fired up and he called one heck of a game against Miami's basically NFL defense. That is GT's first win against a top-3 opponent since beating #1 UVa in 1990. We've also just had terrible results against the Florida schools in the past 15 years, with FSU owning us like UF owns Georgia. It was huge to go to Florida and get a win, especially on the recruiting front.
As for the game that sums up the Yellow Jackets under Gailey? Eh, it's not one game -- it's always a series of games. On his good days, Gailey has coached circles around Tuberville and Coker, on his bad days we've lost to NCSU and Duke. And that I guess is what is indicative, both the wins and the losses. It's maddening at times.
Tech hasn't had a losing or bowl-less season since 1996. They're in one of the biggest cities in maybe the most football-nutty region of the country. Why does it often seem like they can't fill their stadium without resorting to practically giving away tickets?
Georgia Tech's Bobby Dodd Stadium on a typical fall Saturday -- rockin', rollin', and packed to the gills with red-clad fans.
Miami can't sell out the Orange Bowl to save their lives. For whatever reason, inner-city football programs really struggle to get fans in the seats -- but I'll take a stab at GT in particular.
#1 -- Elitist attitude and general disconnect between Tech alumni and the average fan. Quite frankly, GT is closer to MIT than to UGA, and that's not something the average football fan can relate to, or even wants to. It's really hard to cheer for a school whose basic attitude is "We'll take your ticket money but you wouldn't have a prayer of passing our curriculum."
#2 -- Bobby Dodd Stadium at Grant Field is a wonderful place to watch a football game, but the campus isn't a great place to park, tailgate or have the gameday rituals that make college football so special. The average fan doesn't know how to find the Physics lot, or one of the other spread-out places that fans have found to set up at, and there's only so many trips to The Varsity you can make before you're tired of it. Tech has done a much, much better job of this recently -- it's not an ugly campus and if you know what you are doing it's a great scene, but it needs to be advertised more.
#3 -- Atlanta is a college football town, but everyone has their own teams already. There are huge alumni groups for Auburn, UGA, Tennessee, Florida and Alabama in Atlanta. Check out how many college football blogs are written by Altanta residents. On Saturday, they are either driving to their school's games or going to a sports bar to watch them -- they aren't going to GT games.
#4 -- Most importantly, UGA has been a better football team recently. Fans cheer for a winner, and the general impression is that UGA is the better football program, so the average fan has jumped on that bandwagon. During the 1950s, Dodd had Grant Field packed and rocking and Tech was the powerhouse. If Gailey can beat UGA with some regularity and put up consistent 8-win seasons, I think you'll see a bunch of "Tech fans" start popping up.
Obviously there are plenty of things you hate about Georgia fans (a feeling which I'm sure you know is heartily reciprocated from the UGA side). What's the one biggest thing you wish Georgia people would stop doing -- i.e., if you're Bulldog Nation's therapist, what's the single most annoying behavior you'd try to get them to quit?
Barking. Seriously, you look like a freaking idiot. When I tell friends that UGA fans bark, the look on their face is priceless.
Secondly, get control of the trailer-trash element of your fan base. The folks pouring beer over people, peeing off the second deck of Bobby Dodd, etc. -- those aren't UGA alumni. Those trash are a blight on your school. Yes, Tech has a few of those fans as well -- but the staggering majority of them in the state of Georgia cheer for UGA. There's a reason that if you polled the Scout.com boards of every SEC school, UGA fans would be ranked at the bottom for overall behavior. Like Ohio State, the alumni and classy fans of the program need to take responsibility and tell the hooligan arm of the fan base to get lost.
The average Tech student as seen through the eyes of the average Georgia student. Note the MIT lanyard -- dream big, buddy!
Finally, answer the question every Georgia student/alum secretly wonders about: What does the typical Georgia Tech student do on a Friday night? (And does he really think he's any more cosmopolitan than his UGA counterpart?)
Plays World of Warcraft and checks out internet porn, probably! Seriously, Tech kids like to party just as much as any other collection of 20-year-olds, hell, our fight song mentions alcohol over and over. It's different than Athens, though, in that it's not a college town with a collection of bars catering to college kids, making it evident that students are out on the town. Many Tech kids go to Buckhead (or did when I was in school, other areas now I hear) or other places in and around Atlanta, but not in large cohesive groups like you see in the true college towns. Tech has also has a huge foreign student population, and they tend to keep to themselves -- so it's much less of the critical mass of popped collars and drunken sorostitutes you get in Athens.
Hey, don't knock the sorostitutes, pal. Especially when they bring the hooch.